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FDA Establishes Food Safety Standards for Produce Farms

On Friday, November 13, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration published the final Produce Safety Rule of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The Produce Safety Rule establishes food safety standards for produce farms in the United States.

Will the Produce Safety Rule impact my operation?

The Produce Safety Rule includes requirements that address water quality, employee health and hygiene, wild and domesticated animals, manure and compost application, equipment, and buildings.

Food Safety Regulations Soon to Become Law

Over the next few months, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will publish the final food safety requirements for produce farms and food processing facilities under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Many produce farmers and food processors that make food for people to eat will need to comply with the new food safety requirements.

How did we get here?

In 2011, President Obama signed FSMA in to law. FSMA represented the first overhaul to food safety practices in the United States since 1938.

Four NOSB Seats Open

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is the advisory committee that advises the Secretary of Agriculture on implementation of the Organic Foods Production Act. There are currently four seats open on the NOSB: environmentalist, organic producer, organic handler, and retailer with significant trade in organic products.

GMO Labeling Bill Signed into Law

Last Friday, President Barack Obama signed the GMO labeling bill into law. The president’s signature comes after the Senate passed the bill in a 63-30 vote, and the House passed it in a 306-117 vote. The new law will require mandatory labeling of GMOs on certain product labels. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) must now begin formulating regulations to implement the law. 

It's Time to Share Your Story Again!

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) recently announced its draft agenda for the spring 2015 National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting to be held in La Jolla, California at the end of April.

National Organic Program Releases Hydroponic and Aquaponic Task Force Report

In September of 2015, the National Organic Program appointed 16 members to a task force to explore hydroponic and aquaponic production practices and their alignment with the USDA organic regulations. The task force was charged with preparing a report to inform the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) as it determines the best path forward on hydroponic and aquaponic production systems.

New Animal Welfare Standards Released by National Organic Program

The National Organic Program (NOP) announced on April 7, 2016, that it will propose amending the organic livestock and poultry production requirements.

The proposed regulation, which is based on recommendations from the National Organic Standards Board, is an effort to achieve consistency in organic livestock practices. It covers a range of topics including health care practices and living conditions for organic animals.

Here are some of the highlights of the proposed rule:

Order May Impact Organic Poultry Operations

The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board has issued tentative Order # R5-2016-XXXX Waste Discharge Requirements General Order for Poultry Operations, which may impact organic poultry operations. The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board will be holding a hearing on December 5th and 6th in Rancho Cordova, for those that wish to comment on the proposed Order.

Organic Growers Must Enroll in the Irrigated Lands Program

All farming operations, including those that are certified organic, that are producing commercial crops on irrigated land on California’s central coast must enroll in the Central Coast Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program and comply with the Agricultural Order requirements.

Fines of up to $1,000 per day may be assessed on operations who fail to enroll. Operations that have been notified they must enroll and fail to do so are most at risk of being fined.

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